Marlowe's seven plays dramatise the fatal lure of potent forces, whether religious, occult or erotic. In the victories of Tamburlaine, Faustus's encounters with the demonic, the irreverence of Barabas in THE JEW OF MALTA, and the humiliation of Edward II in his fall from power and influence, Marlowe explores the shifting balance between power and helplessness, the sacred and its desecration.
Christopher Marlowe (1564-93) was educated at Cambridge and soon established his reputation as a playwright. Away from the stage, Marlowe was a man who courted danger as a homosexual, a spy, and an outspoken atheist. He was murdered at the age of 29 in a tavern in Deptford. Robert Lindsey is Associate Aditor of the journal Medieval and Renaissance Drama in English. Frank Romany teaches English at St John's College, Oxford.